The FCC does listen to reason

by wonderfullyrich on November 4, 2008

Everyone who sent a letter to their senator’s about the Intercarrier compensation should be flush with victory.  You did it!  You managed to get the FCC to open the Intercarrier Compensation to a public forum.  Yes it’s a small victory, but still, well done!

On a day where we all get to exercise one of the most distinguished rights we have as citizen of the US, it’s fitting to note another of our rights as citizens and more importantly how it can succeed. Bureaucrats and Politicians do listen to their constituents, especially if they are well timed, knowledgeable, and reasonable.

I thought you might like to see my response from Salazar, which although no doubt a form letter, it was well tailored to the message we were writing.

Dear Richard:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal of Intercarrier Compensation and Universal Service Program Reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

The FCC has long been working to address the issue of nondiscriminatory intercarrier compensation between telephone service providers. Because most calls travel over multiple telephone networks, and because callers pay only for the service to which they subscribe, intercarrier compensation has been used to reimburse other network providers involved. For many years, such payments have varied widely, depending on whether the carriers were a local, long distance, or wireless carrier, or an information service provider. The payments also depend on the type of service provided.

Many feel that the current compensation system fails to recognize the convergence of markets using digital technologies and misrepresents the real costs involved. They argue that the current system is haphazard and inhibits competition, innovation, and universal service.

Nevertheless, I certainly understand how the proposed changes have the potential to adversely affect smaller rural mobile phone carriers that generate a larger portion of their revenues from intercarrier access charges. These smaller businesses could not only be forced to raise rates to subscribers in rural areas, but risk being unable to compete in the new market. It is my hope that an effective intercarrier compensation reform package will include another revenue source for smaller carriers to make up any possible losses.

As you may know, the five-member FCC voting panel will address this issue at a public meeting on November 4, 2008. Although the FCC’s final proposal is still subject to much debate and negotiation, rest assured I will be following these events closely to ensure the viability of Colorado small businesses and to protect rural subscribers from unfair price increases.

Again, thank you for contacting me.

Sincerely,

Ken Salazar
United States Senator

Also worth reading is the FCC’s deletion of the Intercarrier Compensation adgenda item from the Nov 4th adgenda.

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